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THE CURRENT VERSION IS SEY 2003


Keyword Targeting
by André le Roux
Dec. 2002

NOTE: For an updated discussion of keyword targeting, please refer to the current version of the Search Engine Yearbook.

How can you double your site traffic without doubling your effort?

Yes, proper keyword targeting.

Which keywords will your customers enter into the search box when looking for your product? If you’ve been guessing up to now, you no longer have to.

Here’s a strategy that works well for me:

STEP 1

Type the root form of your best keyword into “GoodKeywords”, a little application you can download for free. It then shows you how many people use that keyword and it also shows 99 variations of the word listed from most used to least used.

Study that list closely for variations or synonyms you didn’t think of. Use the GoodKeywords list to make your own list of possible keywords to target.

STEP 2

Next, take your list to Google. Type in the words you want to target and look at a couple of the sites listed in the top 10. Can you beat them? Remember to look at their PageRank an inbound links too.

Scrap from your list the ones for which you can’t compete. If you can’t compete on any of your words, go back to GoodKeywords and aim lower.

STEP 3

Take a close look at the site listed in the number 1 slot for each of your keywords. Remember that keywords in links pointing to that site also count, so look at those too by doing a search for link:www.your-competitor’s-domain-here.com on Google. All that’s left now is to “out-optimize” that site. Yes, not that easy. Consider buying the Search Engine Yearbook for a fighting chance of winning in the search engine game.

As a general rule you should not target bigger, more competitive keywords. If you can rank well for them, then go for it, but usually they are a waste of time. You should focus on efforts on keywords that will bring top 10 rankings. I’m currently experimenting with a more blanketed strategy (versus a targeted one).

Here’s what I learned from the Pandecta site:

I noticed that my best (very competitive) keyword delivers 4% of my total search engine traffic. The second best 2.5% and so on. In total my top 20 keywords are responsible for almost 19% of my search engine traffic.

I was disappointed when I saw that. It means that all my efforts to optimize for those 20 keywords only bring less than one fifth of my search engine traffic. The other 81% type in words I didn’t think of or combinations of words or they include keywords in phrases.

So right now I’m experimenting with ways to include more variations of keywords. Although most experts will tell you to focus each page narrowly on one keyword, I think it might pay off to optimize for groups of related keywords – especially on Google.
Anyway, I’m still playing with that. I’ll report on my findings in my Electronic Light newsletter. (You can subscribe for Electronic Light by sending a blank e-mail to electronic_light-subscribe@topica.com)

Search Engine Book: Search Engine Year BookThis page is based on information contained in the Search Engine Yearbook 2003. For more detailed search engine information & help, please refer to the current version of the book.

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